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Israel proposes gradual withdrawal from Area A.
December 20, 2001 3:29 AM   Subscribe

Israel proposes gradual withdrawal from Area A. here's the next step in Israeli policy, and just to show we're not all talk, IDF troops begin withdrawal from positions in Ramallah area. This has been tried several times before, yet Arafat has never been proven successful in stopping terror. Will things turn out any different this time?
posted by martz (40 comments total)

 
And yes, all of the links here are from the same site, which is the english version of an Israeli news-paper, which is considered to be unbiased in it's political opinions.
posted by martz at 3:32 AM on December 20, 2001


The papere cited is for sure a left-leaning paper. Part of the problem is that the Intifada came after Arafat walked from the peace talks and now even the Left in Israel is shifting to th eRight since their talk of Peace Now seems illadvised.
There may come a time when both sides realize that neithr has anything to gain without a peace arrangement. A problem seldom discussed is that Hamas is getting major funding from Saudi Arabia to keep up its attempt to bring down Israel. And, as Bush found out, you have to choke off funding for terror groups to stifle them
Hamas feeds and houses Palestinians and they are turning to this group and against Arafat, who has given them nothing since he has been in charge. Hamas makes promises and this appeals. But at what cost to both sides?
posted by Postroad at 4:03 AM on December 20, 2001


...yet Arafat has never been proven successful in stopping terror.

Or to put it another way, Ariel Sharon has never been proven successful in stopping his troops from murdering Palestinian schoolchildren.
posted by phalkin at 4:28 AM on December 20, 2001


It may be true that neither side can gain without a peace arrangement, but Israel has come pretty near the position that Arafat cannot give them peace, so he is irrelevant as a negotiating partner. Some even suspect Sharon's ultimate policy is to force the Palestinians into civil war.

Careful, phalkin: The massacres were committed by Lebanese Christian militia who were temporarily allied with the Israelis. Calling them "his troops" is a gross distortion, whether or not you believe he could have stopped it.
posted by dhartung at 4:36 AM on December 20, 2001


Actually, dhartung, I think phalkin was speaking of the incident of a couple of weeks ago. In any case, my friend here who is in the reserves now and is serving in Tulkarem, put it succinctly as, "They shoot at us, and we shoot at them." You know what would happen if the Palestinians stopped shooting? There would be no more shooting. Truly.
posted by crustbuster at 4:46 AM on December 20, 2001


come on all !! this withdrawal is a NU proposal, it's been voted more than 20 years ago and still israeli didn't move, instead they occupied more territories. This is unfair, and what's even more unfair is trying to make us believe that they are beeing NICE by withdrawing - it's wrong, they violate international treaties for more than 40 years now (they started to colonize soon after 48) and it's more than time they respect the law - just a little bit, just to prove to palestinian people that THIS TIME israel won't break treaty as soons as signed - else, why would one want to negociate ? israel doesn't respect what's signed, and tries to kill the only one who agrees to discuss
posted by aureliano buendia at 5:06 AM on December 20, 2001


Phalkin was speaking of an incident from a couple of weeks ago where Palestinian schoolchildren went running and screaming from the missile attack on their school. That one didn't get too much press. And incidentally, Sharon authorized that attack on the Lebanese refugee camps regardless of what extension of Israeli military was responsible. The man has shown exactly how much he cares about innocent Palestinians.

When Israel decides it wants peace and not more land, it can follow U.N Resolutions 242 and 338 and get the illegal settlements out of the West Bank. Until then, an occupied and terrorized people can only respond with more terror.
posted by aLienated at 5:45 AM on December 20, 2001


Well, aLienated, aureliano buendia:
It's been offered before, former Israeli prime-minister Barak has offered Arafat all that, and more. in fact, he was more generous in his offers than Rabin, who got killed for his ideas of peace. Yet, what happened? Arafat refused.
There's a big political catch in this situation - Arafat wants something that Israel cannot give him (What normal country would let 2 million refugees come into it's turf or give away a part of it's capital city?) and Israel is bound by it's own settlers, which are considered by the majority of the people here as fanatics, but still, they're Israeli citizens and therefor must be protected.
posted by martz at 5:59 AM on December 20, 2001


Mr. buendia, what the heck are you talking about? I suppose I shouldn't take too seriously somebody who can't even spell UN, but really. Are you aware that after 1948, the west bank was part of Jordan and the Gaza Strip was part of Egypt? How exactly do you figure they were colonizing these areas? What treaties are you talking about? A treaty is something you agree to do, something that a UN resolution is not. An example (Oslo, Wye?) of this treaty they broke as soon as they signed would be helpful. Also, they haven't occupied any more territories since 1967, notwithstanding the invasion of Lebanon.
posted by boaz at 6:04 AM on December 20, 2001


Barak's generous offer wasn't all that generous. Arafat perhaps should have taken it, but I can see why he didn't. It was truly unfair to the Palestinians.
posted by aLienated at 6:11 AM on December 20, 2001


aLienated and crustbuster: Thanks for a bit of support, but I'm referring not to isolated incidents. Rather I refer to Sharon's entire military record from 1953 to present. He's a murdering, Apartheid-supporting, evil person (not unlike Milosevic), who should be drummed out of office and tried for war crimes as soon as possible.
posted by phalkin at 6:11 AM on December 20, 2001


When Israel decides it wants peace and not more land, it can follow U.N Resolutions 242 and 338 and get the illegal settlements out of the West Bank. Until then, an occupied and terrorized people can only respond with more terror.

Keep in mind that it is still the published goal of both the PLO and HAMAS to drive the jews completely out of Israel; most will still consider their country occupied even if they are given the entire West Bank & Gaza. Furthermore, I believe that people can choose their own actions; if they persist in terrorist attacks even when it is obviously not advancing their position, then that is an ill omen for their actions when given statehood.
posted by boaz at 6:15 AM on December 20, 2001


Barak's generous offer wasn't all that generous. Arafat perhaps should have taken it, but I can see why he didn't. It was truly unfair to the Palestinians.

Before you condemn his offer as unfair for not giving them 100% or even 95%, consider that Arafat was never offering 100% or even 95% peace in return either. In fact, the incidence of terrorist attacks increased after the Oslo accords.

Rather I refer to Sharon's entire military record from 1953 to present

We could of course talk about Arafat's record 1967-present. Or is that ok because he's a 'freedom fighter' of some sort?
posted by boaz at 6:26 AM on December 20, 2001


I don't understand the premise of this post. The Israelis will need to return to Area A within a few weeks or days. Its like a Mefi post on tomorrow's weather.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:32 AM on December 20, 2001


This has been tried several times before, yet Arafat has never been proven successful in stopping terror. Will things turn out any different this time?

In a word, no. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the PLF have made it crystal clear that Israel and Palestine CANNOT co-exist, and Arafat, being their whipping boy, cannot/will not stop the violence.

As conservative as Sharon is, the blame for the continuos cycle of violence must be laid at Arafat's doorstep because of the terrorist group he supports and protects. The fact that these groups are more popular among the Palestinians than Arafat doesn't help matters. The Palestinians -- the entire Middle East for that matter -- cannot wish and hope for the complete destruction of Israel as the only solution for that problem. Ehud Barak has gone out of his way to make peace in that region, but obviously. Arafat couldn't/wouldn't accept that.

IMO, Israel has done it's part. It's time for Arafat -- and his supporters -- to do theirs, if they are serious about peace [which I don't they want, at the cost of preservation of Israel.]
posted by Rastafari at 6:35 AM on December 20, 2001


"Are you aware that after 1948, the west bank was part of Jordan and the Gaza Strip was part of Egypt? How exactly do you figure they were colonizing these areas? What treaties are you talking about? " (yes, the poor israeli just woke up one morning to find out they mysteriously had more land, they were occupying sinai ... then another morning, oh man, they discovered their land had now grown to the suez canal ! ... it doesn't stop growing ! poor guys !) you should read the actual story : http://www.en.monde-diplomatique.fr/focus/mideast/1
oh i love so much this : "Furthermore, I believe that people can choose their own actions; if they persist in terrorist attacks even when it is obviously not advancing their position, then that is an ill omen for their actions when given statehood. " --> then, israel is "officially" fighting terrorism since 1972. Maybe they should reconsider their action : it's obviously not working !!!! (hamas & plo are recruiting even here)
and remember, the one that is sued from international instance for killing civilians (the same instance that has just declared milosevic guilty) is NOT arafat, rather sharon for his famous sabra & chatila butchery. Such a nice guy obviously likes peace.

and yes, i'm sorry, i can't even think all the world IS american and speaks english. I'll work on this. un, nato, are the only allowed abbreviations.
posted by aureliano buendia at 6:54 AM on December 20, 2001


First, my hostile friend, the Israelis didn't "wake up one morning with more land", but were attacked from all angles by hostile arab countries, and won, not with too much help from the rest of the "free world". and as we won, we got more territories, which we happily gave back for peace (egypt) and would have given back. (syria). It's not as if we went on a rampage to conquer forgein lands, but more like self defence. second - about Sharon, his hands are cleaner than Arafat's, which was a terrorist who was responsible for the deaths of many innocent civilians.
Besides, that doesn't matter, they're both leaders now, and they have to act by certain rules. Had sharon not wanted peace, he wouldn't have allowed people like Noble peace winning Peres into his goverment.
posted by martz at 7:07 AM on December 20, 2001


(yes, the poor israeli just woke up one morning to find out they mysteriously had more land, they were occupying sinai ... then another morning, oh man, they discovered their land had now grown to the suez canal ! ... it doesn't stop growing ! poor guys !)

Neither of those things happened 'more than 40 years' ago. Also, since sinai no longer is occupied by Israel, it's a pretty clear retort to your sarcasm.

then, israel is "officially" fighting terrorism since 1972. Maybe they should reconsider their action : it's obviously not working !!!!

Let's see. Israel has went from a country plagued by hyper-inflation and threatened with extinction by its neighbors (Yom Kippur War 1973) to the region's economic & military powerhouse. The war on terrorism is going as well as it needs to for Israel.

NOT arafat, rather sharon for his famous sabra & chatila butchery. Such a nice guy obviously likes peace.

I'll admit I'm not a big fan of Sharon, but 1 massacre 20 years ago that he was only indirectly involved in is not comparable to someone whose job for 20 years was committing massacres.
posted by boaz at 7:23 AM on December 20, 2001


BTW, Arafat just got sued too, for "incitement to commit genocide". Those wacky Belgians.
posted by boaz at 7:31 AM on December 20, 2001


This excerpt from an American daily, reporting on the Arafat speech, is a fine illustration of how each of the two sides "reads" things into speeches and interprets them to suit their beliefs. Wherein is the Truth?
sraeli officials seized on a speech by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat as evidence yesterday that he has no real intention of fighting terrorism.

Speaking to a group of Palestinians who live in Jerusalem, Arafat quoted the Prophet Muhammed as saying "one martyr in Jerusalem is worth 70 martyrs elsewhere."

A martyr is commonly used in the area to describe the suicide bombers who have been attacking Israel.

An Arab member of the Israeli parliament, Ahmed Tibi, confirmed Arafat's words but said he was simply trying to underscore the sanctity of Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as the capital of their own state.

But for Israelis — terrorized in recent weeks by a series of suicide bombings by Palestinians who are then declared martyrs — the choice of words at the Tuesday night meeting was more than unfortunate. It was deliberate.

"What is that speech, if not incitement?" Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's spokesman Raanan Gissin told The Jerusalem Post. "If he is going to stop the violence, that is not the way to do it. The way to do it is to say, 'Lay down your weapons.'"
posted by Postroad at 7:55 AM on December 20, 2001


So what is a solution that is acceptable to both? I suspect our children and grandchildren will have this same question asked, generations from now, as our's did before us.
posted by Drake at 9:46 AM on December 20, 2001


As conservative as Sharon is...

Sharon may be "conservative," but in the current context, I don't think this appellation makes a bit of difference; its a term used to disarm potential critics of Israel's enemies. Israel is surrounded by huge populations of poorly-educated, impoverished people governed by tyranical and/or military regimes; people who have been brainwahsed by decades of Soviet-style proganda. Some of these regimes have money by fortuitously having oil on their land. Most of these nations are still at war with Israel and deny its right to exist on any terms. Then there's this sham political entity known as the PA, which affimatively, and by omission, allows a culture of terrorists to grow under its eyes (terrorists supported by the aforementioned oil $).

So why is Ariel Sharon "conservative" for being the head of a government which has orchestrated a relatively restrained military response to the terror emminating from the West Bank and Gaza? Would a military, directed by a "non-conservative" government act differently? Israel still has a government which is way to the Left of the US and even left of France. Is it "conservative" to have a military, per se? Is it "conservative" to be the head of a country which is the only one which is not a politcal and economic disaster area, which actually has a competent military?

Any sane leader would do exactly what Sharon is doing. Except that any sane leader might have already acted much more decisively; reoccupying the West Bank and Gaza; disarming the place, and going from there. Doing so is in Israel's interest. Moreover, its in the real interest of the Palestinian Arabs, who have been screwed and manipulated for so long by Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and the rest of the Arab world.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:15 AM on December 20, 2001


Yes, Paris, once again you've shown all of the goys here at MeFi how lucky the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world are. To think that some of the infidels actually have a problem with God's Chosen People(tm) waltzing into the region with a big stick, a fistfull of greenbacks and an Old Testament-era map to justify displacing everyone else. Of course Israel has their best interests at heart. Those silly ignorant savages, how dare they question the benevolence and wisdom of God's Chosen People(tm) . . .
posted by hipstertrash at 12:06 PM on December 20, 2001


hipster, the only problem with your sarcasm is that there have been as many Jews in and around Jersusalem as non-Jews for the last 100 years. Moreover, If Arafat and his buddies got his way, the Christians would be closed out of Jersusalem and vicinity as well. Also, the argument of displacement is largely bs. The only thing Jews have displaced is desert and barren land.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:29 PM on December 20, 2001


I dont think the fighting will end until Jerusalem is one big radioactive glassy crater...
posted by Iax at 12:55 PM on December 20, 2001


The only thing Jews have displaced is desert and barren land.

But didn't David Ben-Gurion say in 1947:

"In the area allocated to the Jewish State there are not more than 520,000 Jews and about 350,000 non-Jews, mostly Arabs. Together with the Jews of Jerusalem, the total population of the Jewish State at the time of its establishment, will be about one million, including almost 40% non-Jews. such a [population] composition does not provide a stable basis for a Jewish State. This [demographic] fact must be viewed in all its clarity and acuteness. With such a [population] composition, there cannot even be absolute certainty that control will remain in the hands of the Jewish majority .... There can be no stable and strong Jewish state so long as it has a Jewish majority of only 60%."

I believe that the quote comes from this book. It seems that even in the area marked for the Jewish state that there was a quite a bit more than desert and barren land.
posted by eckeric at 1:23 PM on December 20, 2001


Eckeric, since there are nearly 1 million Arabs in Israel presently (who, by the way, have the best quality of life of any Arabs anywhere in the Mideast), what's your point? I never said there were no Arabs.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:42 PM on December 20, 2001


PS: re Jews being Chosen, your snide remarks are not appreciated. Moreover, basically, "chosen" means being required to live with more rules and limitations, none of which aren't even necessary to (1) live a good life or (2) be righteous or (3) get into heaven. So, please don't think the status connotes some sort of superiority; it clearly does not.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:54 PM on December 20, 2001


Ah, perhaps I misread your statement. You are saying, then, that the areas that were settled were previously uninhabited? Folks just sort of came in and filled in the gaps? I noticed that the issue of displacement had been covered before, and is perhaps not bs after all. Could you recommend a good resource on the Palestinian Arab and Jewish populations from 1900 to present (perhaps something that covers things like birthrates, migration, etc.)? I am afraid that I only have the scholarship listed in the other thread to go look for right now, and it doesn't seem to support your assertion. It would be helpful to me if you could offer something for me to look up in the library when I go to check out the other stuff.
posted by eckeric at 3:03 PM on December 20, 2001


Eck: there's stuff on the Web. Of course, my sources will be maligned as biased; that said, I would check out Aish.com and HonestReporting.com. The second of these offers a daily e-mail regarding media bias against Israel; such things as, at least in the past, certain organizations, including, I believe, CNN, not even having Israel on maps.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:20 PM on December 20, 2001


The bottom line in the Mideast is that none of the "players" on the Arab side recognize/practice Western democracy and none have an open press or academic freedom, or any of the other institutions we take for granted. So even those who would like to acknowledge that the PA and the "Palestinian movement" is a sham or, at least, a disaster going the wrong route are affraid to for fear of...murder (see, e.g. statements of opposition to the Taliban in Afghanistan pre-US intervention), . This means the validity and accuracy of assertions coming from West Bank Arabs, or elsewhere in the Arab world need to be strictly cross-examined.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:29 PM on December 20, 2001


Its like a Mefi post on tomorrow's weather.
voila.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:17 PM on December 20, 2001


Paris - its funny, though, because as a person with 1/2 Jewish blood but zero contact with that side of my family, I do see a definite connotation of "superiority." Its funny to me to see American secular Jews, with no connection to faith and little connection to the culture except through distant relatives, who carry themselves with the attitude that they are indeed privileged and part of a "chosen" race/culture. Mind you, anout the only difference between them and me is an upbringing that supports such an attitude. Culturally, faith-wise, and in terms of ancestry, I am identical to them. And yet I've never been privy to that same inner sanctum, the Jew Club so to speak. Not that I've ever had the desire, but as someone inbetween both worlds, I can tell you that the attitude of "God's Chosen People" is indeed often laced with a superior, entitled attitude. Call me a bigot, an anti-Semite, whatever you will. My halfbreed eyes see clearly how such accusations are often used to silence anyone who dare say a word in opposition to the cultural and political aims of Zionism.
posted by hipstertrash at 7:55 PM on December 20, 2001


I would agree with you that there are Jews of the ilk you describe. Too bad.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:02 PM on December 20, 2001


Call me a bigot, an anti-Semite, whatever you will. My halfbreed eyes see clearly how such accusations are often used to silence anyone who dare say a word in opposition to the cultural and political aims of Zionism.

Whoa there buddy. As one of God's Chosen People™, I've got a couple of things to add:
  1. I live in Connecticut; the people my land was stolen from are Mashantucket Pequots. You figure I should give that back?
  2. If there really is that sense of entitlement, I haven't seen it. The people that always seem to have that phony sense of entitlement here all seem to be rich Protestants (our last 2 presidential candidates for example).
  3. If you really think that it's fair to tar a whole people based on your experiences with a couple of your relatives, then you are a bigot, regardless of your feelings about Zionism. If you dislike your relatives, fine; if you dislike me because I share a religion with your relatives, that's not cool.
posted by boaz at 7:22 AM on December 21, 2001


Boaz, I don't think the poster was tarring a whole people, although, if s/he was not, the comment was sort of gratuitous in a thread about the Mideast.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:44 AM on December 21, 2001


I may have gotten a little melodramatic, but it does seem a odd that he justifies a sarcastic comment about GCP™ with an anecdote about his relatives, who happen to be among GCP™. Maybe I should just assume since his relatives are jerks, he's a jerk too. (That's a joke people)
posted by boaz at 7:58 AM on December 21, 2001


Actually, it wasn't about relatives ... I've never met that side of my family. It was about people who I've met during the course of my life who have little or no stake in the religion or culture, but because they are directly connected to that heritage, they exhibit a certain brand of "Jewness" [GCP(tm)] that I don't and wouldn't. My observations were prompted by an air of elitism and superiority in Paris' comments about how lucky the Palestinians and other peoples of the reigon were to bask in the light of Israel's enlightenment, or some other such claptrap. If his statements weren't indicative of a GCP(tm) mentality, then you'd be hard pressed to find any that were ...
posted by hipstertrash at 10:14 AM on December 21, 2001


Actually, it wasn't about relatives ... I've never met that side of my family. It was about people who I've met during the course of my life who have little or no stake in the religion or culture, but because they are directly connected to that heritage, they exhibit a certain brand of "Jewness" [GCP(tm)] that I don't and wouldn't.

My apologies; when I reread your previous post, it became clear that you were not referring to your relatives. Still, its a pity you can't get beyond this you vs. the Jews style thinking.

My observations were prompted by an air of elitism and superiority in Paris' comments about how lucky the Palestinians and other peoples of the reigon were to bask in the light of Israel's enlightenment, or some other such claptrap

PP stated no such claptrap, in this thread at least. (It sounds like there's some history between you two) If you're still surprised or horrified that Israel will act in its own interests instead of the Palestinians', then you have no business being snide.
posted by boaz at 2:14 PM on December 21, 2001


Actually, all I said is that Israel is surrounded by dubious, odious regimes of tyrants. And that the declarations of such nations need to be understood as such. The media often treats Arafat and the Israeli government as equals, which is absurd.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:01 PM on December 21, 2001


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